Orange County Family Charged With Arranging Fake Marriages

SANTA ANA (AP) — An Orange County couple and their daughter were arrested Wednesday on charges of arranging fake marriages for more than 20 foreigners seeking ways to remain in the country, authorities said.

Ajit Bhargava, his wife Nisha Bhargava, 56, and their daughter Runjhun Bhargava, 30, were arrested early in the morning at their home in Yorba Linda and are charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities said the Bhargavas ran immigration services company MPEagle Consultants in Cerritos, Calif., and charged as much as $60,000 to arrange bogus marriages for foreigners who came to the country on visas, mostly from India.

The foreigners paid up to $60,000 to marry a stranger, KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports.

The Bhargavas are scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Santa Ana.

Authorities said the Bhargavas used the same witnesses, and sometimes, the same U.S. citizen spouse, on multiple green card applications, and had the couple take photographs in different locations wearing different outfits to make it look like they had a relationship.

Immigration officers noticed the pattern and forwarded 21 similar-looking cases to investigators at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“They were just recycling marriage certificates. They were even using the same witnesses, a couple of applications had the same U.S. spouse,” said Joseph Macias, who heads ICE’s homeland security investigations in Orange County. “It got to the point where they didn’t care. They thought they were just kind of above the law.”

In a 75-page affidavit, authorities said the Bhargavas paid an associate to recruit unemployed and low-income U.S. citizens – who were often homeless or drug addicts — to enter into the marriages. The U.S. citizens were offered $2,000 for the ruse, but often weren’t fully paid, court papers said.

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Bhargavas’ home in Yorba Linda, office in Cerritos and another office in Anaheim Hills, said Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman.

MPEagle lists on its website offices in Southern California, New Jersey, Georgia and India.

To date, the U.S. citizens and foreigners who entered into the bogus marriages have not been charged. The investigation is ongoing, Macias said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Cloo

    I guess I missed the part where foreigners = Mexicans collecting welfare was reported. Mostly from India ring a bell? Anyway… Illegal Immigrants should not be in this country trying to arrange fake marriages…and if they do then let’s hope it’s all to better their life and support the economy –

  • Ron

    I bet the police weren’t even allowed to check the Bhargavas’s legal status because someone would complain that their rights were infringed upon !!! Another example of why we need immigration laws with TEETH & judges, law enforcement officers and D.A.’s that put the law and enforcement of the laws before political beliefs.

  • Pam

    Gee, is everybody in orange county a racist? Are you all so mean-spirited? Apparently. Guess what? There are plenty of legal Mexicans in this country! Shocking I know. Every posting about orange county is about making nasty comments about Mexicans and it doesn’t even have to be about Mexicans. For instance, this article about Indians! What a bunch of backwards white trash. I would never live in that disgusting county.

  • Augie

    I agree with you Cloo. I missed the part about mexicans and welfare. Why are their people so ignorant that they feel like this is their country and no one else can migrate to better their lives. Unless you are native american we are ALL illegals or someone from your family is/was at one point an illegal. This country was formed from illegals from all over the world. Have you not researched history BOB?

    • Ron

      Pam, Augie & Cloo maybe you don’t know the difference between illegals(Indian, Mexican(Hispanic) or any other person that is not a legal U.S. citizen. That’s what we object to. It is our hard earned tax money that is wasted on those that haven’t paid into the system, that deprive our elderly and U.S. Service Veterans of the money/help they DO deserve !!

  • 951AL

    Pam and Augie I am with you. I grew up in the OC and now currently work there. I would never move back and if I had the choice, I would not work there. It is all so like the tv show…..FAKE! and full of people who operate business and their lives like the people in this story. Makes me ill

  • Zapata

    I commend the Officers of CIS & ICE for a job well done ! The previous comments made little sense. Except Pam’s.
    Ron, did you know that without a social security number illegals still pay taxes? Not hard to figure out. They shop at the same stores you and I do. They pay taxes at markets and stores, gasoline stations, and anywhere else you can think of that charges for their services & goods. Did you also know that many illegals w/o social security numbers still pay federal & state income taxes. They use TIN numbers, only difference, they will never get a refund.

    • Ron


      You left out a few details. How do you know this and why would they pay federal & state income taxes?

      • Duh

        I also know this to be true. I don’t know where ignorant people get the idea that all illegals don’t contribute to the economy. As far as I’m concerned everyone who works is contributing to the economy in many ways. People who drain the system are those that don’t work and get every kind of government help possible. Which illegals are not qualified for so how do you figure they drain the system?

  • Ron


    I appreciate the fact that you didn’t address your comment to me(since you were addressing ignorant people), but you did qualify your statement by saying “as far as I’m concerned everyone who works…”. But you are correct about ” those that don’t work and get every kind of government help possible” are a drain on the system, with a few exceptions. Retired legal citizens, U.S.Veteran Service personnel, etc., are all entitled to any and all government help they can get.

  • Raju

    Is there any update on this case.

    Was there any form of process established for victims to collect the money

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